Important Questions for CBSE Class 9 English Chapter 1 Gulliver’s Travels
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS (150-200 WORDS EACH)
Question.1. Write vivid and detailed description about the land, the people and the king of Laputa. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver noticed that the island, which he came to know later was called Laputa, was floating in the air. Sometimes the island moved and sometimes it stood still. This island had covered a huge area. The fate of the island rested upon a huge loadstone which was in the shape of a weaver’s shuttle. It was sustained by a strong axle of adamand. It was the loadstone that made the island fall and rise.
People living on the island looked strange. Their heads were inclined to the right and to the left. Their eyes were at variance with each other. Gulliver discovered later that Laputians were often overcome by speculations. They were also forgetful. They wore garments decorated with the figures of suns, moons, stars or musical instruments. Their king tried to prove himself to be a mathematical genius. He was also authoritarian and strict. He punished those who broke the rules severely.
Question.2. Give an account of Gulliver’s experience on the land of Laputa.
Answer. When Gulliver came to the floating island of Laputa, he found its people very strange. Laputians had mathematical genius, though their houses were ill built. The women of Laputa were quite vivacious and free. They had been allowed freedom to do whatever they liked. Gulliver studied the habits of Laputians. He found them pre-occupied and forgetful. They wore clothes adorned with the figures of musical instruments and planets and stars.
The king of Laputa and the people treated Gulliver kindly. They proved to be good hosts. The king arranged a tour for Gulliver so that he could himself learn about the island and the principles that went into the floating of the island. Thus, Gulliver observed Laputians closely. He also observed the expertise of astronomers and their reasonings. He was not impressed by the conduct of Laputians who were quite clumsy in their common actions. Their looks were also strange. In short, he found his visit to Laputa less interesting than his visits to other islands.
Question.3. The Lord of Laputa wrote a letter of recommendation to a friend of his in Lagado where Gulliver wanted to go next. How was he welcomed at Lagado ? (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver wanted to go to Lagado, the Metropolis. The king of Laputa agreed to his visit. He gave him a letter of recommendation to his friend in Lagado. Gulliver was let down from the lowest gallery. Gulliver walked to the city. He did not care for wearing the dress like a native. As he could talk to people, he found no difficulty in Lagado. He was able to locate the house of the person to whom he had been recommended by the king of Laputa. He was Munodi. Munodi received Gulliver with much kindness. He gave Gulliver a separate apartment to stay. The apartment was in his own house. Gulliver stayed there comfortably during his stay. The next morning after his arrival, Munodi took Gulliver with him in his chariot to see the city. As he was taken around, Gulliver was told about different farming methods adopted by farmers on their lands.
Question.4. Describe the academy of Lagado. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver’s visit to the academy of Lagado is quite significant. The academy of Lagado was located in a series of buildings on both sides of a street. There were about five hundred rooms. In each room a project was carried on studiously. Gulliver was amused by the nature of several projects, which he thought were most whimsical and useless. He saw a scientist who had been working on extracting sun-beams from cucumber for eight years, without any result. Another scientist was found to be engaged in reusing human excrement. In a room there was an architect who was exploring a technique to build houses by beginning at the roof and working downwards to the foundation as bees and spiders do. There was a mathematician who wrote propositions and demonstrations on a thin wafer and forced his students to swallow it. In short, the academy of Lagado was busy with projects which are of no use to people. Scientists there were wasting their time, money and energy.
Question.5. The ghostly countenance of the attendants at the island of Glubbdubdrib filled Gulliver with fear and terror. Elucidate. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Glubbdubdrib was an island of magicians or sorcerers. It was governed by the head of a tribe composed of magicians. Gulliver visited the place with his friend. He was welcomed by the guards in such a manner that frightened Gulliver. Gulliver and his friends were taken through several apartments. The guards had a strange look on their faces. When Gulliver and his companions reached the Governor’s throne, the Governor moved his finger and the guards were no more there. Gulliver was shocked. He could not recover himself for a long time. The Governor assured him that he would not be hurt in any way. While narrating his stories to the Governor, Gulliver continued to look around in fright. At dinner a set of ghosts served the meat and waited at the table. Soon Gulliver was able to grow familiar with the sight of the ghostly figures which were there to serve in many different ways. The Governor enabled Gulliver to meet Caesar, Brutus, Alexander, Socrates and many other famous persons of the past and learn many truths about them.
Question.6. Gulliver disguised his country and posed as Hollander at Luggnagg. Why does he do so ? What light does this throw on his character ?
Answer. After a month’s sail to Luggnagg, Gulliver’s ship faced a fierce storm. It had to cast anchor within a league of Luggnagg. Gulliver and his companions were taken to the shore. Some of the sailors told the pilots that Gulliver was not among them and that they did not know him. One of the custom officers then made enquiry as to which country Gulliver belonged. Gulliver hid the name of his country and said that he was a Hollander. Besides, he told them about the story of his travels so that they could not become suspicious of him. Gulliver was, in fact, quite clever and intelligent in hiding the name of his country. He knew that if he was to enter Japan he must pose to be a Hollander because the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to enter Japan. Had he revealed his true identity he would have been denied entry into Japan. Thus, he proved to be quite smart and clever.
Question.7. Although immortal, the Struldbruggs were not a happy lot. Give reasons.(CBSE 2014)
What was unique about the Struldbruggs ? (CBSE 2014)
Discuss the character of Struldbruggs. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. A highly placed person of Luggnagg escorted Gulliver to acquaint him with the immortals of the land. Gulliver had the natural curiosity to meet these immortals called Struldbruggs by the Luggnaggians as he believed that these persons must be fortunate not to have any fear of death. When Gulliver was brought face to face with the immortals, he felt disgusted and shocked. These immortals were not at all happy or fortunate as Gulliver had imagined them to be. The hard reality about them was that they suffered from many infirmities which come with years. As such they were miserable and wretched. All fine passions of friendship and natural affection had disappeared from their lives. They now felt peevish, morose and vain. Whenever they saw a funeral procession they yeaned for death, which was denied to them. The women folk of the immortals had the additional ghastliness in proportion to their number of years. Gulliver felt disillusioned with the idea of immortality.
Question.8. How was Gulliver received at Luggnagg ? How was he presented to the king ?
Answer. Gulliver took leave of the Governor of Glubbdubdrid and boarded a ship for Luggnagg. According to the custom of that country, one who wanted to appear before the king had to crawl upon his belly and lick the floor as one advanced. Gulliver carried out the ritual in order to meet the king. He licked the dust before the footstool of the king there. On getting close to the royal throne, Gulliver uttered the words, “May your Celestial Majesty outlive the sun, eleven moons and a half!” Gulliver spoke these words, as he was instructed beforehand. He had to say them in the language of that country and not in English. The king was highly pleased with Gulliver’s visit. He asked his officials to make proper arrangements for him and take proper care of him. Gulliver lived there for three months. He was treated well.
Question.9. What revelations did Gulliver have after his conversation with the dead celebrities of the past and the present ?
Answer. During his stay in the island, of Glubbdubdrib, Gulliver, with the help of his host governor, had the opportunity to hold conversation with the famous personalities of the past and the present. Many unknown facts of their lives were told by these persons. This was a new revelation for Gulliver. For instance, he was told by the ghost of Alexander the Great that history books wrongly stated that he was poisoned to death. The truth was that he died of a fever caused by excessive drinking. Likewise, Hannibal’s ghost clarified that the account of his crossing the Alps was wrong. In fact, he did not have a drop of vinegar in his Camp. The ghost of Aristotle confessed that he had made numerous mistakes in natural philosophy because he had anticipated many . things based on his conjecture. Gulliver had the occasion to talk to the modern kings of Europe. He learnt to his surprise that some so-called illustrious families had characteristics of cruelty, falsehood and cowardice masked under the coat of arms. He also learnt that some of these kings had a barber, two fiddlers and a low-ranking clergyman as their ancestors.
Question.10. What were the principal interests of the people of Balnibari ? j, (CBSE 2014)
Answer. The principal interests of the people of Balnibari were mathematics and music. 1 They showed their interest in these subjects in many ways. Ironically, the results of their knowledge were not good or desirable. They had fertile land but they could not grow corn or even grass in their fields. It was due to their faulty methods of cultivation. Though they took pride in being expert mathematicians, their efforts in shaping their buildings were clumsy. Their houses were ill-built and beyond repair. Then they put all their knowledge in opening an academy. Their scientists worked on different projects. They evolved new methods and techniques, but none of them proved to be useful. Nothing was successful. So the country still lay miserably waste. The houses were in bad shape. People were without adequate food or clothes. Gulliver found this when he visited the city in the company of Lord Munodi.
Question.11. Laputians were expert astronomers. Demonstrate. (CBSE 2014)
Give an account of the expertise of the Laputa’s astronomers.
Answer. Laputa had many expert astronomers. They had their own places to stay and labs to work. In the middle of the flying island was a chasm which was fifty yards in diameter. The astronomers had stored in this chasm a variety of sextants, quadrants, telescopes and other astronomical instruments. They would work here. They also gave such positions to the loadstone as the king desired.
These astronomers spent most of their time in watching and studying celestial bodies with the help of magnifying glasses. They proved to be better than European astronomers in the use of telescopes. They extended their discoveries much farther than the European astronomers. They were exact in settling the periods of ninety three different comets. They had also been able to discover two lesser stars around the Mars.
Gulliver was quite impressed by their discoveries which were really significant.
Question.12. Give a brief character sketch of Munodi.
Munodi was a person of the first rank and had been relieved of this post for “insufficiency”. Comment. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Lord Munodi was a person of the first rank. He had been for some years the governor of Lagado, but was relieved of his post on account of insufficiency. Gulliver had been given a letter of recommendation from a lord of the king to contact Munodi. He takes Gulliver on a round of Balnibarbi and informs him of the conditions prevalent there. It is from him that we learn about the several schemes and projects being launched in the academy of projectors. Though very highly ambitious plans were pursued, yet the lot of the people remained miserable. The people remained without food or clothes, and their houses were in ruins. Munodi was very critical of these fancy and impractical schemes of the projectors. It is through Munodi that the novelist satirises the fruitless and wasteful projects that contribute little to the good of the common man. Munodi remains a traditionalist and does not follow in the footsteps of impractical dreamers. For following old methods, he was not acceptable in the kingdom. He keeps his estate in its original form. All the same the king treated him kindly.
Question.13. Give an account of the king of Luggnagg. (CBSE 2014)
Give a character sketch of the king of Luggnagg.
Answer. The king of Luggnagg was a despotic and autocratic ruler. None could have a meeting with him unless a prior sanction was sought from him. He had set certain strict rituals to be followed by whosoever came to see him. When Gulliver reached Luggnagg and presented before his majesty, he was made to lick the dust before his footstool. Gulliver was commanded to crawl upon his belly and lick the floor as he advanced to the king. Everyone who wished to see the king had to utter these words before the king ‘May your Celestial Majesty outlive the sun, eleven moons and a half. The king had a unique way of eliminating his adversaries. A powder of poison was sprinkled on the floor. The powder had to be licked by this person who was brought before the king. The man would meet his instant death. The king was fond of listening to the adventures of Gulliver. He gave instructions for Gulliver’s comfortable stay at the court. When Gulliver insisted on leaving Luggnagg, he gave him a letter for the Emperor of Japan where Gulliver wished to go.
Question.14. Discuss the Governor of Glubbdubdrib. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. The Governor of Glubbdubdrib was a kind-hearted person, even though he was a great magician or sorcerer. When Gulliver came to him, he welcomed him. He also hosted a dinner for him. Being curious, he asked Gulliver to give him some account of his travels.
He was a good-intentioned, generous fellow. When Gulliver was shocked at the disappearance of the guards at his moving his finger, he assured him that he would not be hurt in any way.
Later, he proved to be a good host. He allowed Gulliver and his friends to stay in the island for ten days during the day time. He let Gulliver meet anyone dead from the beginning of the world and converse with him. Thus, due to his large-heartedness, Gulliver was able to meet Caesar, Brutus, Alexander, Socrates and many other famous persons and learn many unknown truths about them.
In short, the Governor of Glubbdubdrib was a kind and generous host. He had great supernatural powers.
Question.15. Write a character sketch of the Emperor of Japan. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. The Emperor of Japan was a loyal friend. He held the king of Luggnagg in high esteem. That is why, he was so polite and graceful in his behaviour towards Gulliver. Gulliver had shown him a letter of recommendation from the king of Luggnagg.
The Emperor was quite obliging by nature. At least this is what we infer from his behaviour. Gulliver wanted to be safely conducted to Nangasac. The Emperor was pleased to accept his petition. However, he was surprised to know that Gulliver was not ready to trample upon the crucifix because he had been thrown into his kingdom by his misfortunes, without any intention of trading. Though it aroused the Emperor’s suspicion about his being a Christian, he did not allow his suspicion to prevail upon himself. For the sake of his friend, the king of Luggnagg, he waived the condition of trampling upon the crucifix. This reveals his large-heartedness.
Thus, the Emperor of Japan proved to be a trustworthy, helpful and generous person. He did not harm or hurt Gulliver; rather he allowed him have his way.
Question.16. On the fifth day how did Gulliver manage to arrive at the last island ?(CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver got an offer to be the captain of the Adventurer for his navigational skill. He accepted the offer. He took a man, Robert Purefoy, with him. They set sail from Poresmanth. Gulliver’s men on the ship, however, were pirates. One day they turned against him and confined him to his cabin. Then they forced him to be in a canoe, with a few of his clothes but with no arms. They left him to drift and go wherever he could. Luckily, he had some money in his pockets.
Gulliver pushed forward in haste lest he was overtaken by the tide. He reached a firm ground and sat there thinking what his next plan could be. He walked into the interior of the country. He thought he would soon confront savages. Then he saw strange animal-like creatures. He was soon surrounded by these disagreeable animals.
Question.17. What did Gulliver tell about Houyhnhnms (horses) in his own country ?
Why is Master Houyhnhnm unable to comprehend about a country where horses serve humans ? (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver told Master Houyhnhnm that there were many Houyhnhnms (horses) in his country. The horses graze in the fields in summer. They are kept in houses with hay and oats. Gulliver said that the Yahoo servants are employed to serve the horses, rub their skins, comb their manes, etc. He added that the horses are taken care of and treated well until they fall ill. He also told Master Houyhnhnm how the horses are used to drive carriages and are severely beaten if they make any mischievous tricks. They are sold to do all kinds of jobs. After their deaths, their skins are stripped and sold. Their bodies are cooked and eaten. Gulliver also said how iron plates are fixed to the horses’ feet.
This account of the treatment of horses in Gulliver’s land enraged Master Houyhnhnm. He wondered how human being could dare to ride upon Houyhnhnms (horses). Gulliver explained that it was possible because the horses of his country lacked reasoning capacity. They were not better than the Yahoos of the island. So the human beings in his country are able to use and treat Houyhnhnms as they like.
Question.18. Discuss about the Master Houyhnhnm’s criticism of Gulliver and Gulliver’s countrymen. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver told about human activities, conspiracies, jealousies and wars. Having listened to the account of Gulliver, the master Houyhnhnm did not form a good opinion of human beings in his country. He said men are only animals with limited reasoning power. They were no better than the Yahoos in his own country. Human institutions of government and law were faulty because there were gross defects in human reasoning. Like the Yahoos, human beings too hate one another, fight battles without any potent reason and show uncontrollable wish for food.
The master Houyhnhnm observed that there was no similarity between the Yahoos in his country and those in England so far as learning, governments, arts and the like are concerned. However, there are many similarities between human beings and the Yahoos. The Yahoos hide shining stones out of avarice. Human greed to accumulate wealth is strikingly similar to the Yahoo’s greed. Out of avarice, both types of Yahoos – the Yahoos in the land of Houyhnhnms and the human beings in England – fight the fierest battles and wars.
Question. 19. The Yahoos are symbolic of the bestial element in human nature. Discuss.
Answer. After listening to Master Houyhnhnm’s account of the habits of the Yahoos and their similarities with human beings, Gulliver realised that Master Houyhnhnm was quite right in his observations. It was easy to discover that human beings shared their bestial nature with the Yahoos.
The Yahoos were the most disagreeable animals. They had little rational faculties. They were unclean and filthy. They looked ugly. They were so degraded that they were used by Houyhnhnms only as their servants. Like human beings, they were greedy. As human beings accumulated wealth, so did the Yahoos. Both fall victims to greed and jealousy and begin to hate one another. Out of this hatred they fight battles and wars. Like humans, the Yahoos were subject to peculiar diseases. As many humans pay no attention to cleanliness and fall ill, so do the; Yahoos.
Thus the Yahoos represent the bestial element in human nature.
Question.20. Write a character portrayal of the Houyhnhnms acting as the rulers of their land. (CBSE 2014)
The Houyhnhnms symbolise a standard of rational existence to be either supported or rejected by both Gulliver and the readers. Justify.
Answer. During his three year stay with the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver found that they were totally rational beings. Rationality governed every action of theirs. Their main aim was to cultivate reason. Reason was not a problem with them as it was with human beings. They took great care to educate their children. This
desire to educate their children was dictated by reason. It was this superiority of reason which enabled them to rule over the Yahoos.
They were kind, benevolent and humane. They treated every stranger with great courtesy. They extended warm hospitality to Gulliver. They had no idea of evil. It was in their nature to love all the creatures.
Gulliver found that the Houyhnhnms were not emotional. Courtship, love, settlements had no meaning for them. Being rational and practical they cherished temperance, hard work, exercise and cleanliness. So they urged the youth to cultivate strength, speed and hardiness by running races.
Gulliver appreciated and supported the Houyhnhnms for their emphasis on virtues like reason, love and humanity. He was sad to find these qualities missing in most human beings in his country.
Question.21. How did Gulliver learn the language of the Houyhnhnms ?
Answer. The Houyhnhnms, referred to as horses, were the creatures with an extraordinary power of understanding. They were capable of communicating with one another through their own language. Living with these horses Gulliver’s main endeavour was to learn their language. His master, one of the Houyhnhnms, his children and servants were eager to teach Gulliver their language. They treated Gulliver as an animal with some understanding:. They felt that he was worth teaching. In about ten days, Gulliver was able to understand much of the language of the Houyhnhnms. It took him three months to be able to fully understand it. In their language Gulliver told his master who he was and how he had come to their country. The most striking thing Gulliver observed was that among the Houyhnhnms there was no word for ‘lying’ or falsehood. It meant that these strange creatures had no notion of ‘falsehood’.
Question.22. In what ways are the Yahoos and the human beings similar ?
Answer. Gulliver finds many things in common between the Yahoos and the human beings. It is well-known that the human beings are very fond of precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc. The Yahoos also show their fondness for shining stones. Like human beings, they are also fond of gluttony and intoxicating drinks. Gulliver finds an important similarity between the human beings and the Yahoos. Both have leaders who like to be flattered or pleased. This tendency in leadership causes injustice, corruption, discrimination, etc. The female Yahoos have all the vices attributed to women. Both of them resort to all kinds of cunning methods to entrap the males in order to satisfy their lust. A female Yahoo would often stand behind a bush and tempt a male Yahoo. On such an occasion she gives out a most offensive smell. From this account Gulliver realizes that the female Yahoos are no different from the women in his own country.
Question.23. Comment about Gulliver’s supposed regeneration at the end of the voyage to Houyhnhnms. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver’s experience in the land of Houyhnhnms is quite significant in reali zing the real nature of human beings, including his own self. He discovered that Houyhnhnms were more rational and noble than humans. Houyhnhnms were strong, virtuous, friendly and reasonable. The Yahoos living in the land of Houyhnhnms looked like human beings. They shared with human nature evils like avarice, jealousy, violence, etc.
Gulliver realized that his family, friends, countrymen, and in fact, all human beings were like the brute Yahoos and were inferior in noble qualities to the Houyhnhnms. With this realization he decided to live among the Yahoos so that he could refine and reform them under the guidance of the Houyhnhnms. He thought it would be better to live among these brutes rather than among the brutes of Europe. He found such a change in himself that he began to hate human race. This is evident from his behaviour with his family and friends when he returned to England. Of course, as human beings, we do not appreciate this change in him.
Question.24. Gulliver becomes a misanthrope by the end of the novel. Discuss.
Answer. In the land of the Houyhnhnms Gulliver confronts the dark side of human beings in the form of the Yahoos. The Yahoos are symbolic of the bestial element in human nature. On the other hand, the Houyhnhnms are embodiments of virtues. They are rational, practical, noble, kind-hearted and liberal. He realizes that the human beings share with the Yahoos such evils as avarice, selfishness, jealousy and violence. He begins to hate human race as such. He wants to live among the Houyhnhnms for ever, though he has to return to England to live with his family.
His hatred increases as he lives with his wife and children. The very smell of them is intolerable to him. He gets two young horses and keeps them in a good stable. He feels cheerful by the smell of these horses in his stable. Thus, we find that Gulliver has become a misanthrope.
Question.25. Write a character sketch of Mrs Mary Burton.
We find that Gulliver’s better half Mary Burton is not shown as a full fledged character in the novel. Comment. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Gulliver’s wife, Mrs Burton, remains an unrealized character. Even then we find her role in the novel quite significant. It is with contrast to her character that we judge Gulliver’s character, and realize how selfless and tolerant she is towards a careless, selfish husband.
Gulliver marries her to gain a fortune of four hundred pounds. When he wants to start his voyage, she gladly allows him to go. After his first voyage, he stays only for two months to go on yet another voyage. Each time he comes home he feels restless. His wife protests but again yields to his longing for travel. At the end of the novel, when he begins to stay with his family, he begins to hate his wife and children. Even their smell is intolerable to him.
To stay with such a man is not easy for any woman. Mrs Burton is really admirable. She embodies all the essential feminine virtues like selfless service, patience and loving submission.
Question.26. Discuss the character of the Master Horse in part IV of the novel.(CBSE2014)
Answer. Like all other Houyhnhnms, the chief of the Houyhnhnms was a horse. He provided hospitality and entertained Gulliver to his dwelling place which was a building made of timber struck in the ground. He commanded the other Houyhnhnms and lived with his wife and children. He treated Gulliver as a brute like any other brute but of a superior kind because of the latter’s rational faculty not found in the Yahoos. He thought that Gulliver was weak physically as he could notrun fast or dig deep. At the same time he appreciated Gulliver for his capacity for learning, his politeness, his gentleness and his cleanliness. It was beyond his comprehension why people in Gulliver’s land were given to ‘lying’ and ‘false representation’, and ‘saying which was not’. Himself inclined to virtuous life and being governed by reason, he was an ideal of perfection. He listens to Gulliver’s tale of adventure, about his people and their ways. He yields to the decision taken at the assembly of the Houyhnhnms that Gulliver being a Yahoo should not be allowed to continue living in the land of the Houyhnhnms.
Question.27. Critically analyze the character of Don Pedro de Mendez. (CBSE 2014)
Answer. Don Pedro de Mendez is the captain of a Portuguese ship that picks up Gulliver when the latter was helplessly drifting in his canoe. Gulliver describes Don Pedro as a very courteous and generous person who offered him food, help and hope in his predicament. He exercises positive influence on Gulliver who at that time was inclined towards committing suicide. He listens patiently to Gulliver’s story of mishaps and adventures. Dissuading Gulliver from resorting to suicidal attempt again in life, he exhorts him to go back to his home and live happily in the company of his wife and children. On arriving to Lisbon, he takes Gulliver to his own home and gives him new clothes to wear. He entertains Gulliver to good foods and makes his stay comfortable. He urges Gulliver to return to his home and live with his family.
Don Pedro is amiable, hospitable, kind-hearted and sympathetic. He endears himself to the readers and explains the fact that there is no dearth of such fine and loving human beings in the world. He disproves the charge that Swift was a hater of human beings.
Question.28. Give a character sketch of Gulliver.
Answer. Gulliver is both an observer and a narrator. He possesses wonderful powers of observation and narrates skilfully and engagingly what he observes and experiences. He also serves as Swift’s mouthpiece and comments on human vices, foibles and follies though Gulliver’s misanthropy cannot be attributed to the author.
Gulliver is the main focus of attention from beginning to end. We learn that he is just an average man, who received university education and studied medicine. He is a married man with children. He is reasonably intelligent, thoroughly capable of facing any challenge or emergency. He is brave and hopeful. Charged with wanderthirst, he feels sick at home and yearns for a life of adventure. He retains his benevolence throughout his first three voyages and shows his understanding of men and manners. But towards the end of his fourth voyage, he turns morbid and crazy. He shuns human company and prefers horses as his companions. He aptly criticises degradation in human values.
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Lemuel Gulliver : Lemuel Gulliver is an unremarkable and unimaginative man from middle-class England whose voyages to foreign lands form the central plot. He is morally upright and honest but, as his name suggests, somewhat gullible. As he himself is honest, he naively assumes that everyone else is as honest, and hence believes what he is told. He is an everyman through whose eyes the reader sees and judges the people he encounters.
The Lilliputians: The Lilliputians are tiny, six-inch tall people who are filled with self-importance and possess all the petty vices and follies of humankind: greed, hypocrisy, selfishness, and moral corruption. They provide Swift with the opportunity to make the implicit satirical point that in the greater scheme of things, humans, who delude themselves that they are at the pinnacle of creation, are in reality ridiculous and insignificant. In spite of their small size, however, they are capable of doing a great deal of harm, and are treacherous and cruel, as is obvious when they think up gruesome ways to kill Gulliver.
Swift used the Lilliputians to satirize English politicians of his time, and several Lilliputians are founded on real people with whom Swift was acquainted. Flimnap, the Lord High Treasurer and most agile of the rope-dancers, is thought to be modeled upon Sir Robert Walpole, leader of the Whig party and the first prime minister of England in the modern sense. The Lilliputian king's agreement to the plan that Gulliver be blinded and starved, presented ironically as an example of his mercy and justice, is a satirical reference to King George I's treatment of captured Jacobite rebels. George had them executed after he had been lauded in Parliament as merciful.
The Emperor of Lilliput: The Emperor has the pompous name of Golbasto Momaren Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue. Despite his diminutive size, the Emperor's willingness to execute his subjects for trivial reasons and his sudden shifts in loyalty make him a threatening figure embodying political tyranny and the abuse of power.
Flimnap: Flimnap is the Lord High Treasurer of Lilliput. He is a wily politician who excels at rope-dancing, a satirical reference to the machinations necessary to achieve and maintain power.
Reldresal: Reldresal is Lilliput's Principal Secretary of Private Affairs. Though he claims to be Gulliver's friend, he comes up with a plan to get rid of him by blinding and starving him to death. This plan is ironically presented as an example of mercy. Reldresal embodies the treachery of politicians.
Skyresh Bolgolam: Skyresh Bolgolam is the Lord High Admiral of Lilliput. He becomes Gulliver's enemy, seemingly motivated by envy of Gulliver's success at defeating the Blefescudians.
Slamecksan and Tramecksan: Slamecksan and Tramecksan are Lilliputian political parties. The first represents the Low Heels, which in turn represent the ruling Whig party of Swift's time. The second represents the High Heels, which in turn represent the Tory party of Swift's time.
The Brobdingnagians: The Brobdingnagians are a giant race of people. As well as being physically bigger than Gulliver, they are also morally superior. Like Gulliver's countrymen, they are subject to all the temptations of humankind, but they choose morality and common sense rather than vice and folly. Though the farmer who finds Gulliver shows greed and lack of compassion in his attempts to profit from him, this is an aberration, not the norm, in this country. The farmer's attitude to Gulliver is offset by the kindness and care of his daughter Glumdalclitch. In addition, as soon as the Queen of Brobdingnag discovers Gulliver's plight, she rescues him from the farmer.
Unlike Gulliver's countrymen, the Brobdingnagians have built morality into their systems of government and the members of their government lead by positive example. The king questions Gulliver closely about England, and concludes (in spite of Gulliver's attempts to paint a falsely positive picture) that his compatriots are "the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth." In the absence of any coherent argument to the contrary apart from Gulliver's indignant patriotism, this statement must be taken as the voice of common sense.
Gulliver's account of his time in Brobdingnag is colored by his disgust at their bodily characteristics and functions, which he sees in magnified form because the people are so much bigger than him. However, it is important not to allow Gulliver's fastidiousness to cloud the fact that they are morally superior. The emphasis on physical grossness reinforces Swift's satirical purpose throughout the book in portraying humankind "warts-and-all." The effect is to puncture vanity and self-importance and to counteract the Enlightenment obsession with portraying man as a supremely rational and godlike being.
The King of Brobdingnag: The King of Brobdingnag rules his people wisely and compassionately. He questions Gulliver about England and is shocked by the moral corruption prevalent in the government and institutions there.
The Queen of Brobdingnag: The Queen of Brobdingnag buys Gulliver from the farmer who is exploiting him and looks after him. She treats him with kindness and consideration, and grows fond of him; he reciprocates her feelings, kissing her little finger as a mark of respect.
The farmer: The farmer finds Gulliver in Brobdingnag and keeps him at his house. He makes a profit out of exhibiting Gulliver and is prepared to work him to death in order to make more money.
Glumdalclitch: Glumdalclitch is the daughter of the farmer who finds Gulliver in Brobdingnag. She takes care of Gulliver and becomes very fond of him.
The Laputans: The Laputans are a people who are so engaged in abstract thought, particularly about mathematics and music, that they pay no attention to practical matters. They are unable to make clothes that fit or houses that stand. They are experts in astronomy, but the only result of their knowledge of the subject is a great fear of cosmic accidents. They are so inattentive to their environment that they are incapable of normal conversation. They are accompanied by servants with "flappers" with which the servants strike their ears and mouth to alert them to listen or speak.
In his portrayal of the Laputans, Swift was satirizing the excesses of abstract and theoretical thought that flourished during the Enlightenment.
The King of Laputa: The King of Laputa is preoccupied with mathematics and music. He is only interested in abstract thought, at the expense of practical matters.
The Academy Projectors (Professors) : The Academy Projectors are Balnibarbian reformers who plan reforms based on abstract theories, without considering their effects in the real world. Swift used as his model for these professors the scientists of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge (which still exists as of 2006 under the shortened name, the Royal Society), and many of the experiments he mentions in his satire were either carried out or proposed by these scientists.
Lord Munodi: Lord Munodi is the Governor of the town of Lagado, on Balnibarbi. He is a traditionalist who is opposed to the reformers of the Academy. Rejecting their unreliable theories, he sticks to tried and tested old ways of running his estate. In consequence, he has a fine, strong house and his estate and tenants are flourishing, while other estate owners who have embraced the Academicians' absurd notions have ruined their houses, lands, and tenants.
The Struldbruggs: The Struldbruggs are an immortal race of humans who age without dying. Sunk in despair and sickness, they provide Gulliver with a living lesson in the undesirability of immortality.
The Houyhnhnms: The Houyhnhnms are a superior race of rational horses, who run their society according to reason and virtue. The good of the individual is subjugated to the good of the race as a whole, and indeed, the Houyhnhnms do not have strong individual characteristics or even individual names.
The Houyhnhnms are the masters of the Yahoos, who act as their servants. Gulliver is morally inferior to the Houyhnhnms, but strives to become one of them, even taking on horse-like characteristics. He is unsuccessful and is expelled from the Houyhnhnms' country because he seems to them to be a superior sort of Yahoo.
The satirical purpose of the Houyhnhnms is to represent the most rational aspects of humankind.
Gulliver's Houyhnhnm master: Gulliver's master in the country of the Houyhnhnms is not given a name. He is wise, compassionate, and just, and welcomes Gulliver into his home. Ultimately, however, he is forced to ask Gulliver to leave his country on the grounds that Gulliver is not a Houyhnhnm, but a sort of superior Yahoo.
The Yahoos: The Yahoos are the bestial and repugnant race of human-like creatures that inhabit the land of the Houyhnhnms. They are held in subjection by the Houyhnhnms and act as their servants, being used for carriage and draught. They are without moral sense and their actions are dictated by greed, destructiveness, and base appetites. The Houyhnhnms believe that Gulliver is a sort of Yahoo, and finally expel him from their kingdom because of this. Gulliver goes to extreme lengths to dissociate himself from the Yahoos and pretend that he is a Houyhnhnm, although physically, he resembles the Yahoos more.
The satirical purpose of the Yahoos is to represent all that is selfish, bestial, and violent in human nature, as their behavior mirrors the worst aspects of human behavior.
Mary Burton Gulliver: Mary Burton Gulliver is Gulliver's wife. He barely mentions her, and when he does, it is in connection with the money that she brings to the marriage. When he returns from the country of the Houyhnhnms to live with her and his children, he finds himself repulsed by her, as he is by all mankind, as he thinks of them as Yahoos.
Don Pedro de Mendez: Don Pedro is the captain of the ship that picks up Gulliver from a remote island after his departure from the country of the Houyhnhnms. He is kind, courteous, and generous, and even offers Gulliver his own best suit of clothes. He represents the best in mankind, and unlike the Houyhnhnms, his virtue is attainable by any person. Gulliver, however, is blind to Don Pedro's goodness, seeing him only as one of the Yahoos.